Difference between revisions of "Fifth Column"
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Revision as of 20:13, 8 December 2008
A fifth column is a group of people who rationally and clandestinely tries to undermine a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal. The expression dates from the Spanish Civil War in 1936 when the Francoist General Mola, whose forces were threatening Madrid, boasted that he had four columns approaching the city and a fifth column within it.
During the Second World War, when British citizens were anxious about supposed fifth-columnists in the UK, the artist William Heath-Robinson produced a series of cartoons about the Sixth Column, patriotic men and women devoted to frustrating the actions of the Fifth Column.